Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Thargon Menace

The Thargon Menace

I've always been interested in audience reaction to shows and hopefully I'm not alone in remembering the mild flurry of excitement when 'DWB' published their Doctor by Doctor ratings guide, which finally laid to rest some of those old fables about 'The Gunfighters' having less than 2 million viewers.

Audience appreciation is a different kettle of fish and Jeremy Bentham's book 'The Early Years' gave us an insight into the BBC's viewer reports with its grudging praise along the lines of "...at least this particular adventure wasn't one of those boring historical ones..." - that's a glowing review of 'The Savages', by the way.

A recent YouTube trend has been for people to record themselves reacting to 'Doctor Who' episodes and the best of these can give useful insights into how older material material is received or how someone with absolutely no knowledge of the show responds to stuff that old codgers like me have never even thought to question.

I thought it might be fun to hit Warren with a surprise and sit him in front of 'The Tomorrow People : The Thargon Menace' just to see what the result was.

Now, Warren's general knowledge of television production is extremely good, but he'd never actually seen this particular two-parter before. I was not disappointed with the outcome, especially when the amazing computer interface Thing made his first appearance.

On the subject of the Things, we decided that the green one must be the higher-ranking of the two as his silver foil beard is clearly meant to betray that he's older. I'm not sure what we're intended to conclude from his white plastic boil, however...

This story is unashamedly ambitious with its studio-based jungle set that measures about five feet square. The film inserts of various creatures are so jarringly out-of-place that they reminded us of the stock footage of the old ladies clapping from 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'.

It's easy to mock, of course, and that's not what 'Round The Archives' is about - we're here to celebrate what people get right even with no money in the budget.

Warren rightly pointed out the fact that 'The Tomorrow People' sends out a valuable message that anyone can be a TP regardless of race or sex.

Olu Jabos as General Papa Minn is well worth watching and at a mere 50 minutes running time, the story doesn't outstay its welcome. Indeed, we'd have been quite happy to see the General make a return appearance.

My favourite 'TP' story of its later years is probably 'Achilles Heel', but we enjoyed 'The Thargon Menace' perhaps more than we thought we would.

And Warren is still talking to me. Which is nice!

(By Andrew Trowbridge)

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